After releasing the albums Hypnos (Mainland Records, 2011) with a quartet and Layers (Zennez Records, 2016) with a quintet (both bearing his name), Dutch guitarist/composer Michiel Stekelenburg introduces a trio with the traditional line-up of guitar, Hammond organ, played by Arno Krijger, and drums, played by Jasper van Hulten . As the opening track, "Onoda," makes clear, this is not an entirely traditional program stylistically. It begins rubato, then follows a moody contemporary jazz path, reminiscent of guitarist John Abercrombie's organ trios. "Steroids" lives up to its name with its upbeat Latin rhythms and intricate bebop unison lines. "Kayser Söze" is a ballad of sorts: lyrical, but it still builds to a dynamic climax.
"Consecotaleophobia" finally delivers a bit of the expected funky organ trio sound, complete with a wild overdriven guitar solo with an envelope follower. "Slow" provides a showcase for the organ, its melody slowly building to a grand climax accompanied by rhythm guitar and driving drums. One can imagine it being played by Procol Harum. The odd-meter insistence of "Seven on Two" gives way to the contemplative "Mist" to close the album, although as usual, the trio can't resist a dynamic concluding section.
The name of the trio project and album refers to the Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda who stayed in the jungle nearly 30 years after the end of World War II because he refused to believe the war was over. "The core of his story, as I see it, is to show perseverance and firmly follow your path. Despite what others tell you, keep believing in your goal. You can also apply this to the pandemic situation we all had to deal with. Despite all setbacks and measures, we had to continue playing and creating music," says Michiel. Trio Onoda is the sound of both perseverance and joy in making music together.
Onoda; Steroids; Kayser Söze; As We Grow; Consecotaleophobia; Slow; Five; Seven on Two; Mist.
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